Feb 18, 2009

Finger Picking On The Guitar

Its almost like there are two worlds in guitar playing. You have the guitarists
who like to use a flat pick, and then you've got the guitar maestros who use
a strict finger picking technique.

Getting the dexterity down for acoustic guitar finger picking can be a bit
of a hassle, and it almost seems as though the fingers don't want to budge.
With some simple exercises, the obstacle can be removed from the road.

Before we continue to explore finger picking, we first need to establish something. In the classical guitar world, where plucking the strings with the fingers is quite common, there is a labeling of the fingers. The labeling is simple, and knowing it will help you to guide yourself when you start working with these passages.

P = Thumb
I = Index finger
M = Middle finger
A = Ring finger

The abbreviations come from the Spanish words of Pulgar, Indicio, Medio, and Anular, and its a very easy system to work with.

By the way, one of the best beginning guitar books has always been
Frederick Noad's First book for the guitar

I even have it in my collection, and it helped me get started with classical technique.

Now that we know that the fingers are labeled as P,I,M, and A, we can apply this identification tool to simple guitar tab.

For this lesson we're going to simply focus on getting our fingers warmed up
with some simple plucking, using P and M for the chords and I for the single
notes. This is also a similar approach to the Beatles song Black Bird.

A word of advice. The key thing here is to take your time, because you want to
put your focus on syncing up the chord changes with the picking. I know that
seems obvious, but the plucking helps to keep a really good rhythm.

Stay tuned, because in the next lesson I'll show you how to put a little more "pep" in it ;)

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